Over the weekend, Adam Wingard tweeted out a cryptic image of a piece of paper, effectively telling Death Note fans to take a deep breath and chill out. A trailer for Netflix’s English-language, live-action adaptation of the beloved horror manga will apparently drop soon. The stylish writing says “Death Note teaser coming soon stop asking”.
American anime fans are all hoping Wingard’s Death Note movie will be a success, but several developments in the last year have people nervous. First, Wingard’s Blair Witch reboot was lambasted by critics and failed at the box office. Second, Japan’s live action Death Note film disappointed as many manga fans as it pleased, leaving a cavernous hole for the Netflix version to fill.
As for what’s confirmed: Death Note will feature goblin-faced Willem Dafoe as the shinigami Ryuk, young adult romance mainstay Nat Wolff as Light, and Atlanta’s Keith Stanfield as L. Though most of the press buzz around the film has been centered on Dafoe’s dynamite casting, Stanfield will likely be the adaptation’s brightest star. His haunting stare, which was on display in Dope, Short Term 12, and Straight Outta Compton is a perfect IRL version of L’s hollow expression from the manga.
When student Light (Nat Wolff) finds Ryuk’s (Willem Dafoe) Death Note, a notebook used by the gods of death to claim human lives, he’s chased by the police. When the government isn’t able to track Light down, and his mysterious body count rises, the police turn to L (Keith Stanfield), a hermit and master detective. L and Light face off in a classic game of cat and mouse, both determined to outsmart the other, while the grinning Ryuk hovers above them both, amused and surprised at how cruel humans can be.
Though the Japanese Death Note manga and anime focus their horror on psychological drama, Wingard has said that his version is hyper-violent. Wingard’s prior works, including The Guest and You’re Next, make splatter gore look more stylistic than excessive, so his bloodier version of Death Note is pretty intriguing.
Death Note hits Netflix sometime in 2018.